Hair is one of the characteristic features of mammals and has various functions such as protection against external factors; producing sebum, apocrine sweat and pheromones; impact on social and sexual interactions; thermoregulation and being a resource for stem cells. Hair is a derivative of the epidermis and consists of two distinct parts: the follicle and the hair shaft. The follicle is the essential unit for the generation of hair. The hair shaft consists of a cortex and cuticle cells, and a medulla for some types of hairs. Hair follicle has a continuous growth and rest sequence named hair cycle. The duration of growth and rest cycles is coordinated by many endocrine, vascular and neural stimuli and depends not only on localization of the hair but also on various factors, like age and nutritional habits. Distinctive anatomy and physiology of hair follicle are presented in this chapter. Extensive knowledge on anatomical and physiological aspects of hair can contribute to understand and heal different hair disorders.
Part of the book: Hair and Scalp Disorders